Vigils held across Europe in support of Charlie Hebdo, press freedom (PHOTOS)

A man holds a placard which reads "I am Charlie" to pay tribute during a gathering at the Place de la Republique in Paris January 7, 2015, following a shooting by gunmen at the offices of the magazine (Reuters / Christian Hartmann)
Thousands gathered for rallies in French cities, standing in solidarity with victims of the Charlie Hebdo shooting in Paris that killed 12 on Wednesday. At the biggest rally, in Paris, people lit candles and held up their pens to support press freedom.

Paris witnessed a large rally on Place de la République, which is located close to the office of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo.

Masked gunmen stormed the Paris office of Charlie Hebdo on Wednesday morning. Ten journalists and two policemen were killed. Police said that three gunmen carried out the assault. They are still at large, while Paris is on high alert.

READ MORE: Paris manhunt: 3 gunmen at large, 12 shot dead at Charlie Hebdo offices

A woman holds up the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo during a gathering at the Place de la Republique in Paris, on January 7, 2015 (AFP Photo / Dominique Faget)

The attack was presumably triggered by cartoons published earlier by the satirical left-wing paper, which portrayed the Prophet Muhammad. The gunmen reportedly called out the victims by name during the attack, shouting: “We have avenged the Prophet."


People mourned the victims by lighting candles and holding up pens in a show of support for press freedom.

A man raises a pen during a rally at the Place de la Republique in Paris, on January 7, 2015 (AFP Photo / Martin Bureau)

A man holds a placard reading : "Freedom of the press is priceless, fundamentalism, of any kind, will not pass" as others hold up pens and placards reading in French, "I am Charlie" during a gathering at the Place de la Republique, following an attack by unknown gunmen on the offices of the satirical weekly, Charlie Hebdo (AFP Photo / Martin Bureau)

Protesters held placards reading “Je suis Charlie,” which translates to “I am Charlie.”

The same #JeSuisCharlie hashtag has been treanding on social media, with users stating that the attackers cannot take away their freedom.

READ MORE: #JeSuisCharlie: World stands with Charlie Hebdo victims

"I am free. I am free to think. I am free to tolerate. I am free to caricature. I am Charlie," wrote Twitter user Audrey Sommazi.

French newspapers placed black banners on their websites reading “Je suis Charlie.”

Thousands gathered in Bordeaux in southwestern France. People rallied in front of City Hall in Rennes, western France.

In Strasbourg, Lyon, Metz, Nantes and Toulouse, tens of thousands took to the streets on Wednesday evening. Other French cities also held vigils.

People hold placards reading in French "I am Charlie" during a gathering in Strasbourg, eastern France, on January 7, 2015(AFP Photo / Patrick Hertzog)

People gather at the Place Royale in Nantes on January 7, 2015 (AFP Photo / Georges Gobet)

Women hold placards reading "I am Charlie" (L) and "Together against barbarism" in Toulouse on January 7, 2015 (AFP Photo / Eric Cobanis)

Protests in support of the Charlie Hebdo victims also took place in Berlin, Brussels, Madrid and London. In Moscow, people paid their condolences by leaving flowers, candles, and cartoons at the French embassy.

People hold signs that read, "I am Charlie" during a vigil at Trafalgar Square in London January 7, 2015 (Reuters / Stefan Wermuth)